When I was in Thailand, I was there as missionary for my church. Most of the other missionaries I was with were other Europeans, mostly Americans. There were several Thai missionaries as well. We would hang around with each other so much that it began to change our accents. My family started to notice that my accent was kinda off from a typical american accent. My English grammar was still the same and my pronunciations wasn’t bad, it’s just that I sounded ‘different‘ than what I used to sound like.
This wasn’t the only interesting thing that happened. The Thai missionaries began to have their accents change as well. In fact they would change so much that other Thais would say things to them like, “Where are you from? You aren’t Thai, you don’t speak very clearly,” and “This Farang you are with speaks Thai more clearly than you, so you can’t be Thai.” If I had a baht every time I heard a Thai mate of mine get torn apart for not speaking Thai very well, I think I would be a millionaire.
Funny thing happened on the way to the wad
This interesting situation ended up creating one of the funniest things to ever happen to one of my Thai friends. We will call him Jo to protect his identity.
Let me give you a bit of back ground on what we did as missionaries. We go and meet people and invite them to hear a message about our church. If they accept then we invite them to hear more and so on. You can guess the most of the people we talk to say no and most of the people who do say yes, say no for further visits.
My friend Jo, who is a Thai, started talking to a man in his neighborhood. During the conversation his accent came up. Jo was not in the mood to be told he couldn’t speak Thai very well and decided to say he was from Japan(ญี่ปุ่น -Yii pun). It made for an interesting conversation and so much so that the man eventually asked to learn about the church. Since the chances of him wanting to learn anything more than that were very slim, Jo didn’t worry much about his little ‘fib’ about being Japanese.
Little did he know….
This man not only wanted to continue learning, but he became very interested. Not just interested in the church, but in his now Japanese friend whose stories became more and more elaborate as he went on. Including naming the place he was from and what it was like in Japan compared to Thailand.
I never did find out what happened, because I ended up being moved to a new area. This is one of those examples of why you shouldn’t lie, because it always ends up biting you in the ญี่ปุ่น -Yii pun